When the recently refurbished Shang Palace planned to reopen a couple of months ago, there was a short delay while they put the finishing touches on the new decor. Specifically, the three enormous lotus flower-shaped chandeliers that run down the middle of the main dining room, each one sparkling from the thousands of glass beads that catch the light, were taking longer to finish than expected. Even so, it was worth the wait.
The interior is flawlessly elegant and, even more importantly, the food is a glowing reminder of how Chinese food should be executed and presented. Throughout, the food is low on oil, delivering delicate flavours while still being immensely satisfying.
The dim sum is the obvious place to start – the scallop siew mai (B120′ bottom right) and the deep-fried shrimp and sesame spring rolls (B90) offer both sweet and salty taste, the scallops deliciously tender while the spring rolls add some crunch. The crispy barbecue pork buns (B80) are also a winner, the pastry bursting coming apart to expose the grilled, saucy goodness.
But the signature dish is undoubtedly the Beijing roast duck (B1900) that is enough to feed four people and comes in two separate dishes. First, the skin comes off and is served with thin pancakes, green onion and plum sauce. The duck meat is then taken away and minced or stir-fried before returning to the table, seasoned with pine nuts and egg yolk, to be parcelled up inside fresh lettuce leaves.
The baked river prawn with butter and black pepper sauce (B220, main image) is another highlight – it’s a seriously sized prawn that is a brilliant pink when you manage to crack open the shell. And the black pepper sauce is completely addictive – adding spice but with a richness that floods through after the initial hit.
The seafood keeps on coming – this time with a double hit of fresh crab. First, there’s the bird’s nest soup with crab roe (B1300) before the sticky rice with crab (B1800) that comes out in a family-sized bamboo basket. Without exception, it’s colourful, fresh and complex, without ever tipping over into the kind of over-seasoning that overwhelms the produce, making Shang Palace one of Bangkok’s top-notch Chinese places.
3F Shangri-La Hotel, 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, New Road
02-236-7777 | shangri-la.com | 11am-3pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm
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